Did you know blueberries are called “brain berries”? That’s right, according to Dr. James Joseph from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tuft’s University, the blueberry is an excellent choice of food to combat brain aging.
As the warmer months fast approach, it makes since to take a closer look at the natural health benefits of fruits that will soon be available at your local farmers market or produce section of your local grocery store. One food that is the favorite of many is the tiny, tasty blueberry. So let’s take a closer look at the amazing things this fruit can do for the brain.
Free Radical Fighting Power House
A foods ability to fight disease causing free-radicals is measured by ORAC or oxygen radical absorption capability. Basically the higher the ORAC value, the more radical oxygen molecules it can absorb. In fact, the ORAC scale as created by the brilliant USDA researchers at Tuft’s University.
Disease causing free radicals come from a number of different sources including the food you eat and your environment. They cause oxidation in the body. Here is a good example of what free radicals do to healthy cells. The next time you cut an apple to enjoy for a snack, leave a small portion of the recently cut apple on the countertop. You’ll soon notice the healthy flesh of the apple soon starts to turn brown. What you are witnessing are the effects of free radicals on healthy cells. The antioxidants in blueberries, and other foods, help to counteract this damage.
According to Wikipedia, one cup of raw blueberries delivers about 9,000 ORAC units. This is almost double the USDA daily recommended antioxidant dosage of 5,000 ORAC units the average person needs to fight harmful free radicals daily. However, due to the seasonality of blueberries, getting one cup of blueberries into your daily diet may be different. If you can’t find fresh blueberries, consider the frozen fruit or wild blueberry capsules made with blueberry extract.
Blueberries and Combating Brain Aging
Dr. Joseph conducted blueberry and brain aging research on rats. The research specially selected 19-month old rats since this age in the life of the subject is about the same life age of a 60 to 65 year old human.
In the study, the researchers feed the rats dried blueberry extract, the same that goes to make blueberry capsules, an equivalent dosage of ½ cup of blueberries daily. In addition, the researchers fed three other subject groups daily strawberry extract, a controlled diet and spinach extract respectively.
The total length of time of the study was eight weeks. During this time the subjects in the studying aged to an equivalent of 70 – 75 years old using human years. Throughout the research, each subject was put through a series of memory function tests.
The blueberry group, the control group, demonstrated improved memory skills and learning ability as they navigated and remembered their way through the test mazes. In addition, once the study was completed the researchers found the brain tissue of the control group contained higher amounts of dopamine when compared to the other groups. Dopamine assists with controlled movements, memory function and problem solving.
While additional research is needed, the blueberry has been shown to help to combating brain aging. In addition, there are many types of blueberry products including fresh blueberries, blueberry juice concentrate, blueberry extract and even frozen blueberries to select from. So if you’re looking for a natural way to combating brain aging consider adding some blueberry to your daily diet.
To learn about the natural health benefits of blueberries and other fruits, grab a free copy of the FruitCeutical Handbook
Medical Daily – Wild Blueberries Lowers Risk of Metabolic Syndrome